From left: Georgia Poet Laureate Chelsea Rathburn, prize winner Grayson Jones, Gov. Brian Kemp and First Lady Marty Kemp.

From left: Georgia Poet Laureate Chelsea Rathburn, prize winner Grayson Jones, Gov. Brian Kemp and first lady Marty Kemp.

Credit: Courtesy Georgia Dept. of Economic Development

Twelfth grade student Grayson Jones has been named the winner of the 11th annual Poet Laureate’s Prize. The prize is awarded for an original poem written by a Georgia high school student.

The program with Georgia’s Poet Laureate Chelsea Rathburn, in partnership with Georgia Council for the Arts, encourages students in grades nine through 12 to write original poems and engage in the art form of poetry, in turn building creative communication skills and self-confidence. 

More than 300 students submitted poems for the 2023-2024 school year, an increase of more than 100 submissions over the previous year and nearly double the amount of high schools participating.


2024 Winner Poet Laureate’s Prize

Grayson Jones – “Pennies”

  • Grade 12, Thomas County Central High School, Thomasville, Thomas County


2024 Finalists Poet Laureate’s Prize

Muriel Chan – “Stomping Grounds”

  • Grade 9, McIntosh High School, Peachtree City, Fayette County

Samanyu Ganesh – “Ode to Garbage Collectors”

  • Grade 10, The Westminster Schools, Atlanta, Fulton County

Quinn Kelsey – “Poison Ivy”

  • Grade 12, Decatur High School, Decatur, DeKalb County

Autumn Martin – “Learner’s Permit”

  • Grade 12, Carrollton High School, Carrollton, Carroll County

Through a partnership with Atlanta Magazine, all winning and finalist poems are featured on its website. To read the poems, click here. All of the 2024 finalists will be invited to participate in a private poetry reading at the state Capitol and to receive a commemorative photo with Gov. Brian Kemp and first lady Marty Kemp in honor of their achievement.

All Georgia high school students are encouraged to participate in this annual competition. Details about the 2025 competition will be available on the Georgia Council for the Arts website in fall 2024. The annual submission deadline is at the beginning of spring. Click here to learn more about the program.

This story comes to GPB through a reporting partnership with Rough Draft Atlanta.